How a Glass or Two of Champagne Really Does Lift the Heart

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are delivering some unexpected cheer this Christmas. They have found
that a couple of glasses of champagne a day are good for your heart
and blood circulation.

Nor, they believe,
are the benefits limited to expensive fizz: cheaper alternatives
such as cava and prosecco may offer similar effects.

The research
is the handiwork of a team led by Dr Jeremy Spencer of Reading University,
working with scientists in France, and is to be published in the
British Journal of Nutrition this week.

"We have
found that a couple of glasses a day has a beneficial effect on
the walls of blood vessels – which suggests champagne has the
potential to reduce strokes and heart disease," Dr Spencer
told the Observer. "It is very exciting news."

Two glasses
a day of red wine,
previous research has found, helps ward off heart and circulation
problems. Most of that effect comes from chemicals called polyphenols,
which affect circulation by slowing down the removal of nitric oxide
from the blood. In turn, elevated levels of nitric oxide cause blood
vessels to dilate, which lowers blood pressure and reduces risks
of heart problems and strokes.

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15, 2009

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